Note that some of the pictures here are from the second frame I’m building, as I didn’t take enough pictures of the first frame during construction.
If you are going to build a 44” eagle, don’t do what I did and get thin walled brass from model shops. Find a specialist supplier and get thicker walled brass. Even though it’s a bit harder to cut and shape, the finished joints will be stronger. I eventually found a company in the UK called Smiths Metals to get everything I needed.
The method I used to join the brass was as follows:
|I first built a plywood jig to make the 11 cross sections for the spine. Brass tube of 5/16 inch diameter was inserted into the holes, and ¼ inch brass was cut and profiled to fit between. After soldering the first section I realised the ply would need some protection to stop it catching fire. So I screwed a brass plate to one face (picture 1). Picture 2 shows the different type of cross sections needed.|
|When the four long lengths of ¼ inch brass were put through the cross sections (picture 3) the spine started to take shape, and was already quite strong and stiff without anything fixed in place. The rest of the spine was glued together using J-B Weld (picture 4).|
|I started putting the spine together from the centre cross section (picture 5) and worked my way out. The diagonal 3/16" pieces were cut and profiled and the ends filled with car body filler (picture 6), then glued in place.|
|The four end sloping pieces were very awkward to cut, so I made them out of aluminium (pictures 7 and 8). As I remember, it took about eight or nine goes to get four good fits. They were filled with car body filler and pinned and glued in place with epoxy. Picture 9 shows the completed spine.|
For the cage sections I made a plywood jig. Picture 10 shows what’s left of it.
The plywood jig worked in the same way as the new metal one I am using for eagle2 (picture 11). It holds most of the cage together, and allows access to the joints for soldering. Most of the cage was made from ¼” brass except the cross braces which were 3/16”.
The frames for each end (the command module and engines) were made on the outside end of the jig (picture 12).
The cage sections were fixed together using short lengths of brass tube and J-B Weld (picture13).
The pieces that the command module connect to were brass plate. I drilled the holes first, then cut and shaped them.
I used aluminium for the short sections of 3/16” tube (picture 14). The ends of these were filled and they were stuck in place with epoxy.
The corridors and shelves were made from styrene sheet (pictures 15, 16). The shelves were made up of three pieces stuck together with super glue.
You can see the plastic U shape that goes through the cage, which is part of the method of holding the side pods in place. To hold the U section in place I bolted it to a length of brass that was soldered across the frame (picture 17). You can see from picture 18 that the wood from the side pods goes right into the corridor. The shelves are also glued to the U section in the final construction to give more support. This is not how the original eagle was made. I don’t know why I did it like this, it just seemed to be a good idea at the time.
The resin door was from an AB 44” eagle kit. Picture 19 shows the corridor pieces from the kit. There were originally four door sections, but you only really need two.
The engine bells are bolted through the corridor (pictures 20, 21).
|The spine was clamped to the cages with small g-clamps and soldered in place. Then the 16 U-shape clips were bolted through the cage sections (picture 22). I made half of these from brass and half from aluminium plate. Note: they are not the same style as the first two studio eagles, but are the same as the third 44” eagle. The whole frame was then sprayed with white cellulose car primer (picture 23). I eventually finished the frame in acrylic primer and satin varnish. Then the coloured tape was added (picture 24, 25). This is car trim tape from Halfords.|
|The corridors and shelves were detailed with brass and aluminium rods and kit parts. Note: for the top and bottom of the corridors, the kit parts were not directly glued to them. The parts were first stuck to thin styrene sheet and painted. Then the whole assemblies were glue in place with small dabs of glue so that they could be removed easily in case the corridors ever needed to be removed.|